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My Immersion Experience

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Autor:   •  September 10, 2017  •  Essay  •  1,272 Words (6 Pages)  •  24 Views

Page 1 of 6

Jilliane Ong

Student ID: 20467735

Due: August 20, 2017

Final Individual Assignment

Feeling the heat of the midday sun burning my shoulders as I carefully climbed up the metal rungs, I finally saw a hand reach out to me. The instructor helped me up to the rickety wooden stand of the zip line and welcomed me by saying I was the first woman up there for the day. He attached the correct carabiner to my harness and gave me the strap to hold unto. I looked down at my teammates on the ground below – some of them belaying, a couple of them readying the ladder, all of them cheering for me. Despite my small fear of heights, I took a deep breath, steadied my nerves and jumped.

As I perched on top of the ladder, struggling to take off the carabiner using my shaky fingers, I looked around at the bustling activity around me. I could see people running around in harnesses as the team leaders were assigning them to different tasks. It amazed me how a group of people who didn’t even know each other a month before could work like a well-oiled machine. It was a perfect culmination of the Immersion Program and served as proof of how much growth our cohort had undergone in the past few weeks.

One of the most memorable activities during the Immersion activity was “BaFa BaFa.” Prior to taking up my MBA, one could say that I’ve had a very sheltered existence. I had spent my whole life in the Philippines, exposed to the same kinds of people who grew up in the same kind of background as me. Diversity was something I was aware of but definitely not something I had experienced firsthand. Getting an MBA in such a culturally dynamic place as Hong Kong, alongside people from so many different countries, was definitely pushing me out of my comfort zone. One of my personal strengths, I felt, was that I could get along well with most people. I am not an extrovert but I do enjoy talking to people one-on-one, getting to know them and listening to their stories. But now, how would I be able to carry a conversation with someone I had no common ground with? The “BaFa BaFa” activity allowed me to become more aware of the existing cultural divides in our society. It helped me be more mindful of any pre-existing discriminations I may subconsciously have that could keep me from communicating with my peers effectively.

I feel that the “BaFa BaFa” activity prepared me for working on the Ocean Park Case Presentation. Although I had met my core group during the program orientation, I really wasn’t able to interact with them and work with them properly. The case presentation allowed us to really get to know each other outside of a social setting. Initially, it was a bit difficult for us to hit the ground running as we were met with a couple setbacks – language barriers and confusion over what to do with the case presentation. Given that English wasn’t the first language for most of the group, I felt it was hard for some of my groupmates to fully express what they wanted to say. There was some frustration when the other parties couldn’t understand them, as well. That was possibly the reason why we didn’t work very efficiently as a team.

One of the turning points of our group was during the dessert survival activity. Although the decisions that needed to be made were very trivial, I felt that was when we started to gravitate towards a style of making decisions as a team. Unlike other groups of 5, our relatively smaller group of 4 ensured that each person was heard. Before settling on a decision, we made sure that each person agrees to move forward. Our different backgrounds and experiences, initially a point of contention, became one of our strengths as we gave each other varying points of view. In a way, that activity was when we started to warm up to each other and really value the opinions of one another.

Fortunately, my teammates were all diligent and persistent and we powered through despite the initial difficulties. During our case presentation, our team found unexpected recognition from Professor Nason for getting the highest numerical grade based on his criteria despite not being chosen by our class as the best. This definitely boosted our team’s morale and made us feel that we were actually doing something right.

During the PDP assessment, I was actually very surprised about the results of my teammates. Initially, I thought we were a mix of Tiger, Peacock, Koala and Owl. However, I was surprised to find out that we were composed of a Peacock, 3 Koalas and an Owl (I was both an Owl and a Koala). Afterwards, it started to make sense to me that when we had group discussions, there was no one person taking the lead. It also made sense that we weren’t as efficient as we would like to given that there was no dominating figure to steer the reigns. Our democratic approach to making decision was a fruit of having 3 Koalas who would much rather keep the peace. However, that also meant that it took us much longer to make a choice. In this scenario, I do feel that someone in our group should find their inner Tiger to at least keep our team in line.

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